Do I really have to tell you? It's about, um, two women named Edie and Thea
CONCEIVED AND CO-DIRECTED BY
Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir
Breaking Glass Pictures
Interview w/Judge Harvey Brownstone; Edie w/Directors on Festival Circuit; Link to "In the Life" Edie & Thea segment; "Coping with Disability" featurette; Photo Gallery; DVD release 12/14/10
From the directors of The Brandon Teena Story comes this heartfelt doc about two lifelong partners, Edie & Thea, and a lifetime of commitment and embrace that transcends politics and circumstance.
Edie & Thea - A Very Long Engagement introduces us to two young women who first meet in the 1960's and whose love endures what is essentially a 40 year engagement until they are finally able to marry in Canada.
The story of Edie and Thea lacks the impact of, say, the Brandon Teena story, though co-directors Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir on a certain level take the same approach by giving the film a sort of wham bam ending that doesn't quite make up for the relative melancholy and low-key nature of much of the film. Winner of the Dokula at the Hamburg Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Edie & Thea is almost strictly a genre film that will have limited appeal to a wider audience beyond those who will appreciate the film's heartfelt portrayal of its lesbian relationship and the ways in which Edie & Thea approach the issue of disability within the film.
However, those who would like to see the film be a strong statement for gay/lesbian marriage are likely to be at least modestly disappointed as Edie & Thea avoids politicizing the relationship and focuses almost strictly upon the lifelong journey of these two women.
What an incredible journey, indeed.
Muska and Olafsdottir primarily utilize older black-and-white photographs, voice narrative and interviews with Edie & Thea to tell the story both past and present. While this approach is perfectly fine in terms of the material, it isn't particularly interesting other than reinforcing my long held belief that I don't have much interest in getting old.
Muska and Olafsdottir take a decidedly backseat approach to direction here, avoiding any type of Michael Moore style histrionics and allowing the beauty and inspiration of this love story to stand on its own. It does, for the most part, stand on its own, though it's equally arguable that possessing such a marvelous and rich story presents the opportunity to put a human face on the issue of gay marriage. Unfortunately, the opportunity comes and goes and we simply sit back and listen to Edie and Thea.
Edie & Thea - A Very Long Engagement is being released on home video by Breaking Glass Pictures on December 14, 2010. While the doc will, indeed, have limited appeal for a wider audience, fans of meaningful and informative gay/lesbian cinema may want to add this one to the collection.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic